Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Greetings, readers.
Welcome to Kairos Calling, the blog devoted to the craft and joy of writing.

For those who don't know, the term kairos goes back to Aristotelian times and sophistic rhetoric; and, much to the shock and horror of my students, I'm going to refer to wikipedia rather than my hefty Rhetorical Tradition (Bizzell, Herzberg) textbook from grad school for a working definition (although I looked up the term in my book first before moving online, just to make sure I was choosing the right word). Kairos "signifies 'a time in between', a moment of undetermined period of time in which 'something' special happens. What the special something is depends on who is using the word."

I have to be honest: I didn't want to be this serious or academic when selecting a blog name. Actually, my original name was going to be Purple Panda, after a character from the Land of Make Believe on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. I was going to put a "The" in front of it to avoid copyright infringement. I even googled it to see if it was taken. In the end, I rejected it because I found too many sites w/ similar names that were clearly targeting a younger audience. I was going for whimsy, but not furry pens with heart-shaped caps or myspace links to guys named Chad.

So, I opted for the typical and predictable, I guess, and I'm already experiencing that cognitive dissonence that happens when you're in a restaurant, trying to decide between chicken and fish, and you choose the chicken, all the while regretting that you didn't take the fish.

I should've gone with the fish.

But, I am a rhetorical geek, and a modern-day sophist, and I do love the spirit of the word, so it does work. The "Calling" part of the name is a sort of invitation. That, and it set me apart from religious organizations and academic journals.

Let me clarify that the writing that takes place on this blog is going to be anything but finished. Sometimes it will be boring, or repetitive, or choppy, or poorly proofread, or contain structural trainwrecks. There will be use of the passive voice and adverbs. There will be improper usage of punctuation (in particular an overabundance of elipses, dashes, and semicolons, not to mention parentheticals) and capitalizations. If you're looking for correctness, then read a textbook. I would argue that blog writing is mostly inventive. And yet, I am well aware of my audience, and I aim to impress and entertain, so I will do my best to avoid the above zonkers as much as possible. I want this blog to initiate response and inspiration for you to write.

Sometimes I'm going to answer questions about writing, as if I'm being interviewed. Sometimes I'm going to write about my own writing process. Perhaps I'll post questions for my faithful readers. I'm currently finishing one novel and planning another and avoiding one more, so I'll likely talk about those, but I'll not reveal specifics. I may talk about books that I'm reading or have read, because I think writing and reading are inextricably linked. I'm going to use words like "inextricably" and hope I'm using them in their proper contexts. As I hinted earlier, I am a teacher of writing, albeit academic writing. I'll likely not discuss that much, especially in the context of students. Most of the writing I'm going to talk about here will pertain to creative fiction and nonfiction. Mostly I'm just going to celebrate the joy of language, of writing as play, as work, as truth, as thought, as creation, and all the other cheesy metaphors you've heard and used. In other words, I aim to keep this as fun as possible. If I mention others in my life, I'll either use initials or pseudonyms.

So, here we go. I hope you'll enjoy reading this.
And if it makes you feel a little less like a stuffy academic, just call me The Purple Panda. I know I will.


Sarah said...

the only problem with referring to you as the purple panda is that - in my infinite laziness, i want to shorten it to PP, and that will never do. hell, even minnie would be better than that!


The Purple Panda said...

Ok, that's just wrong. Permit me to sound like a 14-yr-old, but there's always Kai...

Sarah said...

ooh, kai! wow, didn't even think of that...and i like it a lot. (and i think i'm the one sounding like the 14yo here, haha.)

wait, how do i specifically respond to your comment?? weird...

Mia said...

So what exactly do you have against guys named Chad?

The Purple Panda said...

Actually, I know quite a few guys named Chad... very likable guys, too. (and so does every one else, it seems!)